2019-07-07 - What Price Loyalty?


Madame Masque invites Catwoman to make an offer she can't really refuse.

Log Info:

Storyteller: Bruce Wayne
Date: Sun Jul 7 01:07:11 2019
Location: Staten Island

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Theme Song



The article in the Staten Island Gazette was tucked away in the classifieds, it was actually Alfred that had brought it to Selina with a quiet ahem over morning breakfast.

The article read:

'If curiosity killed the cat,
and satisfaction brought it back,
what is someone is curious about the cat,
would it no longer be satisfied.

Wayne Tower - rooftop, 9 PM.'

If Selina arrives at the pre-determined hour, it's not Batman that she will find on the rooftop of the building that bears her fiance's name - it's a woman. Dressed in white leather and mesh armor, she wears a golden mask. Selina will recognize her easily enough from the fight they had a few weeks bck at a ship - when Red Hood decided to end things with a bang.

There's no weapons out. Instead, she's sitting at a table, dinner set up, and a candle burning - as if she has set up for a date..

..or a business meeting.

Selina Kyle is used to dubious messages, but she's not used to getting them spread all over the city in public news papers. That said, she has a reputation to maintain. The Catwoman who goes out in black does tend to get named very often in public; she's able to operate with her family with… relative discretion given her family's tendency to leave criminals without a clear idea of what just happened to them. And she has enough copy cats out there to get away with it.

No, the Catwoman most people know is cut from a different cloth. A thief through and through. And thus, this is one of those non-private occasions where the old clothes come out.

There's a moment of alarm when she sees who's waiting for her, a brief hesitation, but you wouldn't know it the way Catwoman comes sauntering out of the shadows, clad in a skintight purple bodysuit, long black gloves and thigh-length black high heeled boots, her face obscured in her purple cat-eared mask, though her striking green eyes are visible. "Y'knooooww…" Catwoman purrs, her voice filled with an almost mocking confidence; the aloof coyness of someone who treats everything like a game. The old Catwoman. Subtly different from the new Catwoman. "… Most of my fans have more subtle ways of reaching out to me~." She teases, one hand on her hip as she approaches the table, a relaxed smirk on her face as she regards the dinner setup with a slight tilt of her head. "… So do the ones who want to kill me, come to think of it." She adds, the unspoken question being: which one are you. She has taken some pretty shady commissions in the past, after all.

There's a smirk from the well dressed woman as she gestures towards a man - a bodyguard from the looks of that pistol at his side, but he steps up to the table to take the lid off a dinner plate. Fresh fish, scalloped potatoes, asparagus. She apparently is /trying/ to be friendly towards the woman in the cat garb. "If I wanted to invite you up here to kill you, you'd already be dead." comes the response in a charming tone of voice. "No, it is rather, I have a proposition for you." she finally offers, gesturing to the chair.

"But I never negotiate on an empty stomach, and I never do business with someone that won't at least dine with me. So please, feel free to join me, and I'll make my offer while we talk." she almost coos in her tone of voice, as she takes a piece off of her own fish, and it is slipped inside a mouthpiece on her mask to be devoured.

Catwoman doesn't move as the armed man approaches, save for her eyes following him until the lid is removed, prompting a subtle deep breath from the costumed woman as she enhales the scent of the food on offer. "Well, that's a relief." She says flatly, then lifts her arms and shoulders in an easygoing shrug, as if to say 'oh well!'.

"Haaaa, suits me." She says, sliding down into the seat and giving the armed guard a quick wink as she crosses her legs. "Wouldn't even be the strangest date I've been on." She says, taking the nearest bit of silverware and poking idly at her food. "Though, I will say, I'm used to my reputation preceding me when it comes to my work." She smiles coyly, "New to town?"

"Oh, lived in town for years." Masque offers casually as she lifts her glass of wine to sip on it. "I'm in what you might call.. real estate acquistions, and reformation of communities." she explains as she sets down the glass. "And when I heard there was an opening in Staten Island. Well, far be it for me to turn down one of the best investments in the city in the post-9/11 and post-Blitz world."

"But there's a problem. There seems to be a rodent infestation in this part of town. One I was made keenly aware recently that you were part of." she says with a lift of a brow underneath her mask. "At least, at one time you were." She's not saying exactly what it is she knows yet, drawing it out to play on Selina's curiosities. "Perhaps something of a curiosity - how cats chose who they want to be near."

Catwoman is in mid bite when Masque brings up the 'rodent infestation', pausing in mid chew to give the impression of a bit of a dubious look before she sighs and swallows. Luckily it's not uncommon to hear her family mentioned in these meetings, though it's usually in a more cautious sense. Her brow raises slightly when she's mentioned as being part of that 'infestation' and gives a long-suffering look, "He tends to be the one that tries to be near *me*, as I recall it." She says, then gives a breezy smile and a shrug, "But the bats and birds aren't so bad if you've got a fast pair of legs on you~" She lowers her shoulders and gives a slightly more serious look, "I've been outrunning the Bat for years. You don't need to worry about him."

"That's what got my curiosity. You see, everyone else that he's come across, as at least done some time in Ravencroft. You, on the other hand, always just manage to slip away. Perhaps, it was just that you were that lucky. But noone is that lucky, are they, really?" Masque asks. As she talks, she pushes over a manilla envelope to Selina. It's unsealed.

"And that's when I decided to do a little research. And discovered that our curious little cat doesn't have that many qualms on who's house she's visiting."

Inside the envelope of pictures. Taken from grainy security cameras, they are of Catwoman helping Batgirl shortly after the Blitz, while Batman was missing. One of Catwoman about to take down a mugger. And another one, more recently, of Catwoman helping against Nightfall. But the last one? It's of Catwoman, on a rooftop, engaged in a liplock with Batman.

There's a smile in Masque's voice. "You have a very interesting parole officer, Catwoman. I can only imagine how good you must be to keep him from arresting you as he has everyone else."

Catwoman's brow lowers as she takes the envelope with steady hands, keeping her eyes on Masque as her insinuations hit their mark, struggling not to show any sign of it on her face.

Her throat clenches slightly at the first picture. But she can explain that. It was the Blitz. Everyone was… frazzled and scrambling to make snese of what to do next. But as she progresses through each picture, her heart gradually sinks, until finally she grows visibly pale as the pictures begin to depict her moments of intimacy with what's supposed to be her greatest adversary.

Catwoman swallows hard, and gradually shuts her eyes as Masque speaks to her, giving a short huff as she quietely says, "I'm good at all kinds of things."

After a long moment of silence, Selina opens her eyes, looking stonily at Masque. "… What do you want."

"Oh, I want your help. As I said, this isn't about showing you out. Though I'm sure your prison pen-pals would /love/ to know your secret. Harley, Pamela.." Masque takes another bite from her meal. "Maybe they'll be jealous that /they/ didn't consider it. After all, adversity makes strange bedfellows." She would know, she's been after Tony for.. well, we won't get into that here.

"And I don't care about his precious identity. What you two do.. well, I want you to keep doing that." She smiles again beneath her mask. "I'm a romantic at heart. And if you're keeping him busy, then he won't be able to interfere with my expansion plans. And his little bird and other assorte menagerie? I'm sure you can find a way to keep them busy as well. Because you are a very resourceful woman."

"I'll pay you for your services. One hundred thousand to start. Just for doing what you do best."

Catwoman always laughed when Batman used to tell her her actions would come back to bite her. She kinda wants to laugh now, seeing it come back in a way he probably didn't expect. She wishes she could blame this on her arrogant youth, but… it's not like they've gotten *much* better at discretion. She just doesn't do it in her god damned thief costume.

Catwoman's jaw clenches behind closed lips without realizing it, the pictures crumpling slightly in her hands. Her eyes glare fiercely for just a second as she's told it's 'what she does best', but she forces her gaze to soften, an overly-tight smirk coming to her lips. "… I was hoping this was about actual business. Getting where people don't want me to be. Not that it's not tempting to take money to play with my old boytoy, but…" Catwoman sets the pictures down. "I'm not a prostitute." Catwoman lifts her crossed leg up and entwines her fingers in front of it, leaning back slightly and subtly looking down the bridge of her nose at Masque.

Her brow twitches faintly. There's… a lot that can go wrong here. A lot of people who would feel very very betrayed if they caught the faintest inkling of the extent to which Catwoman had betrayed their trust over the last couple decades. People with horrible tempers, and occasionally deranged minds.

"Tsk. There's a difference between a distraction and a prostitute." Masque shakes her head. "And here I hoped that we would have such a nice relationship. I know it will not bother /you/ one iota if I do anything with these pictures…"

"But for a moment, Catwoman? Put yourself in someone else's shoes. Sure, you can take the hit for being well.. amorous. There are those that would even applaud you." She smiles and gives her a little golf-clap at that.

"But Batman? He's built up twenty years of trust with the NYPD, by bringing them the ones that they can't catch. It would be a serious. I would dare say /criminal/ breach of trust if they were to find out all this time that you had your own.." a glance over the woman "..assets in getting away from him."

"But I'm sure, as you said, that he's just your old boytoy." With that, she's getting up to leave.

Catwoman looks away as Masque speaks, breathing slowly with an increasingly unhappy look on her face. As Masque starts to leave, Catwoman's eyes wander back to her and her guard.

It wouldn't be that hard to just take the guard's gun and put two in Masque's head. It really wouldn't. It would solve a wide variety of problems for everyone, if you think about it. She never held these scumbags lives as sacredly as her peers, but Bruce…


"Wait." She says sharply, a little more loudly than she'd like to, fuming internally. Part of her is a kid again, chafing badly at the complications all these connections bring to her. The rest of her just wants to protect her family. "… How long do you need this done for?"

"I had a timeline originally." Masque responds, a cool air about her as she stops outside the helicopter that was warming up to prepare to take her away.

"But then you just had to forget this was business. It will be until I tell you I'm done. One hundred a month, and when it's done - all evidence of you and him? Gone." There's very little chance that Masque will do that - but it's always nice to at least make the token suggestion, right?

Turning, she settles her hands on her hips and looks at Catwoman, the expression her face unreadable under that golden visage. "Do we have a deal?"

Catwoman works very hard not to scoff. Deals aren't usually framed between threats, even among her usual clientele. But there's no use telling that to someone like her. Not now, anyway. There's a thousand things she'd like to say, ranging from catty, to biting, to likely preceeding violence, but… Catwoman *has* grown up at least a little, managing to bite her tongue and say, simply, "… Yeah. Yeah, we have a deal."

"Excellent. I will have you provide me with a secured account - and when you have successfully provided me with the Bat's whereabouts for the next two weeks - you will recieve your payment if the information provided proves to be true." Masque gives a cordial little bow of her head. "It is a pleasure to work with you, Catwoman. There are so very few women in our line of work that are willing to do /whatever/ it takes."

Was that a last little catty comment? It's hard to tell as she steps into the helicopter, followed by her bodyguard, as the door is pulled closed and it's rotors start to whirl in preparation for takeoff, leaving Catwoman with the nicely prepared meal. And a lot more problems.

Catwoman gives a well honed 'screw you' smile to Masque at that comment, but otherwise barely moves until Masque's helicopter is well out of range. She picks up the pictures again and looks at them with a blank gaze for a long time before a slow grimace comes to her face. "… Lady. You have no idea."

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